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S’pore scientists have found new ways to improve breast cancer treatment outcomes, Singapore news and top stories

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Singapore-Local scientists have found ways to use alternative drugs to combat resistance to the forms of targeted therapies used to treat patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Drugs often used to treat patients with this condition often stop functioning after a while, causing a recurrence.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore’s Institute for Cancer Science, the Singapore Genome Institute under the Institute of Science and Technology, the National University of Singapore Cancer Institute (NCIS), and Danish international collaborators, why this happened I looked it up.

A team led by Professor Lee Soon Chin of NCIS Singapore and Professor Yu Qiang of GIS focused on a protein called HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2).

Scientists couldn’t figure out why, but drugs that targeted the HER2 protein often ended up ineffective.

To decipher the mechanism of cancer resistance to anti-HER2 therapy, the team used existing data from biochemical databases along with tumor samples from 29 patients enrolled in NCIS clinical trials.

They focused on the enzyme subunit known as PPP2R2B. It suppresses cancer by chemically modifying the signaling pathway.

Breast cancers that did not respond well to anti-HER2 therapy tended to have low levels of PPP2R2B enzyme.

In fact, the activity of the PPP2R2B enzyme was suppressed by another enzyme known as EZH2.

Plans to conduct clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the combination of both drugs to treat patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

In addition, the PPP2R2B enzyme can be used as a potential predictive marker to identify patients who may be resistant to standard anti-HER2 therapy and may benefit from additional therapy.

Professor Lee, head and senior consultant at NCIS’s Department of Hematology and Oncology, said HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for 20-25% of all breast cancers.

“Despite its initial efficacy, resistance to anti-HER2 therapy almost always occurs in patients with advanced cancer and will eventually succumb to the disease,” she said.

“This study provides insight into why anti-HER2 drugs ultimately fail and provides solutions to restore susceptibility to anti-HER2 treatments that may prolong patient survival.”

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